Manchester, Thursday @PeopleSports11
So to the Pirelli Stadium in two weeks’ time. An appropriate venue for a dead rubber. Three days after sticking seven past Rotherham in the FA Cup, Manchester City killed off their Carabao Cup semi-final with Burton Albion on Wednesday night without the need for a second leg.
The holders head for Burton not so much to finish the job as go through a formality after another thoroughly ruthless display.
Full marks to Pep Guardiola’s side for going about their work so effectively, and in particular Gabriel Jesus who scored four goals. David Silva was excellent too, but how many times have we said that?
After the narrow margins that separated Tottenham and Chelsea in the other semi 24 hours earlier, City exposed the gulf in class on a night that turned out exactly how Burton’s fans must have feared.
Some of the 3,000 travelling contingents were still taking their seats as half-time approached due to traffic problems on the M6, and by then the League One underdogs were already four goals down.
Those fans might have wondered if it was all really worth the trouble as the Premier League champions went on to complete the widest ever margin of victory in an English cup semi-final, and the club’s biggest win since beating Huddersfield 10-1 more than 31 years ago.
A smattering of empty blue seats around the Etihad Stadium suggested that City fans also suspected this one was never likely to match the drama of their team’s seismic win over Liverpool here a week ago, even though their club remain on course to lift this trophy for the fourth time in six years.
At the final whistle, Nigel Clough got a sympathetic pat on the back from Guardiola and was able to raise a smile, but the Burton boss looked like he had been run over by a truck.
‘City doesn’t just beat you, they annihilate you. It hurts when you lose by that many. A lot of the players were wide-eyed when they came in at half-time,” he acknowledged afterwards. -DAILYMAIL